Stephan G. Stephansson

Iceland Leader on Tour

A desire to visit the grave of the famed Icelandic poet Stephan G. Stephansson has brought the prime minister of Iceland to Edmonton.

Dr. Bjarni Benediktsson arrived in the city with his wife and son, Bjorn early Friday afternoon.

They were met at International Airport by Leaf Oddson, president of the Edmonton Icelandic Society, Prime Minister Benediktsson will leave Edmonton today and driver to Markerville, a community 12 miles west of Penhold that was settled by Icelanders near the turn of the century.

Although Stephan Stephansson did his writing in Markerville, he was born in Iceland and his poetry, written in Icelandic, is well known there.

In Edmonton the prime minister and Mrs. Benediktsson were to be guests of Hon. J. Percy Page, lientenant-governor, at a tea at the Mayfair Golf and Country Club. Friday night the Icelandic Society honored them at a dinner at the Scandinavian centre.

Dr. Benediktsson was invited to Canada by the Manitoba Icelandic Celebration Committee to celebrate the 75th Icelandic Day, held annually at Gimli, Man.

Why not in English?

IT IS ONE of those Canadian ironies that the prime minister of Iceland should know more about an Alberta poet than Albertans do themselves.

The poet is Stephan Gudmondsson Stephansson.

His memory was honored at the weekend when Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson of Iceland journeyed to Markerville in Central Alberta, where Mr. Stephansson spent most of his adult years.

He died in 1927. Some Albertans have heard of him vaguely. A handful may have read a few of his lines.

But in Iceland, his poetry is revered like that, of Shakespeare's in English - speaking countries. Some have said he ought to be accorded the rank of a Canadian poet laureate.

The trouble is that his work remains almost entirely untranslated into English.

As a Centennial project, as a memorial to a great Albertan, as a service to all Canadians, why doesn't the Alberta government arrange for the publication — in English — of the best of Stephan Stephansson?

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